Thursday, October 16, 2014

What You Can Do

There are a lot of things kids can do to help animals so I wanted to write this portion of my blog just for you. Before you go on any website though, you should ask your parents and even show them the site. NEVER give information about yourself to someone online (for example, your name, age, where you live, or where you go to school). Don't trust somebody just because they say nice things to you online. You probably think your parents worry too much about these things but they are smarter than you think! :-)

Let me tell you a bit about myself. Until recently I was a high school Spanish teacher. I loved teaching Spanish but one of my favorite things to do was (and is!) to lead students on trips abroad. I have taken students to Greece and Italy for sightseeing and to learn about these cultures. I have taken students to Costa Rica to help rescue Olive Ridley turtles. And for the past two summers I have taken students to Puerto Rico to volunteer at a dog rescue called Save a Sato. "Sato" is what Puerto Ricans call a street dog.

I became interested in Save a Sato twelve years ago when my cocker spaniel, Phoebe, was rescued by them from the streets when she was just a puppy. They saved her life and they have saved the lives of thousands of other dogs. I now work as a volunteer for them from my home in Connecticut and I hope to continue going back every year to volunteer at the shelter. Several of my students have said that they want to go again this summer.

I didn't do much volunteer work in my life before this but working at Save a Sato got me hooked! I love animals so I guess the secret is to volunteer doing something you love and then it doesn't even feel like work. I also learned another secret: If you are feeling sad, doing something to help someone else or make them feel better actually will make YOU feel better too. It really works!

What I want to do in the kids portion of my blog is to help you realize what a big difference YOU can make in the lives of animals. One thing I like to tell all kids is that if your family is going to get a dog, please don't buy one from a pet store. Pet store puppies are often not as healthy because of the neglectful environment in which most spend their first six or eight weeks of life. Do pet store puppies look healthy? Yes. Will the employees there tell you that they don't get their puppies from these places? Yes. There are some that will be telling the truth about that but most won't be because then nobody would buy their puppies. So if you see a cute puppy in a pet store and want to rescue it, remember that there are many, many dogs living in shelters who also need to be rescued and surprisingly, they are often healthier. By getting your dog from a shelter or a "breed specific rescue" (see below), you are telling people in the commercial dog breeding industry (another name for puppy mills) that you won't support this industry.

I hope you will continue to visit my blog so I can keep sharing with you things that you can do to Take Action For Animals!

(A "breed specific rescue" is a rescue group that focuses on only one breed of dog. If your family decides it wants a lab, a golden retriever, or just about any kind of dog, chances are there is a group that can help you find a good one. You can ask your parents to Google "lab rescue groups" or whatever the breed you are looking for).

This is SofĂ­a, one of the five puppies my students and I brought back from Puerto Rico in June to be adopted. All five puppies were adopted into loving homes very quickly.

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